AZO has consistently done buybacks for 10 years. It is the #1 buyback stock averaging over 10% a year for 10 years. Buybacks act exactly the same way as reinvested dividends, except better tax implications. It has not increased earnings, it is all buybacks.
Well, the debt level is a bit high, but thier revenue should be able to cover it. The buyback program is designed to push the stock higher, no question. manipulation, maybe. But who cares, just jump on the boat and float with the big boys.